When one thinks of Britain, the words “dreary” and “rain” tend to be the first things to come to mind. For me, this was certainly reaffirmed as I started packing to go to Creamfields Music Festival in Cheshire… only about 30 minutes before I was due to leave. Not the brightest of ideas. Creamfields is a huge electronic music festival held annually, and it attracts over 50,000 people, many of whom camp there for the weekend. Insert “camping” into the “dreary” and “rain” equation. Then insert “50,000 people”. The final outcome? Mud. Lots and lots of mud. It’s a simple equation, really.
As I soon discovered, mastering a festival like Creamfields, and most of the other music festivals that take over Britain during the summer, is an art. Packing is the first medium upon which this art can be expressed, and it is perhaps the most important one, because how you pack for a music festival ultimately determines your level of enjoyment at said festival. For example, forgetting your Wellies is something that completely redefines the term “walk of shame”. Those few poor souls who did indeed neglect to pack their boots experienced that shame firsthand within seconds of arriving at the vast stretch of farmland that was to be their home for the following three days. But they were eventually spared from the patronizing smirks of their fellow festivalgoers. After roughly a kilometer of walking through mud (that had the consistency of quicksand, mind you), the festival gods forgave them for their senselessness by providing them with stands that sold Wellies. And so, they were saved.
|English mud at its finest|
The next item on the packing list would seem quite obvious to most, but it was effectively neglected by the useless few people who seemed to think that spending 48-plus hours in the rain and mud could be turned into a “sexy” experience. This item is, of course, warm clothing. The amount of exposed rear-ends I saw making their way around the festival took me right back to the basements of the steamy (disgusting) frat parties that I frequented way too much in college. And the fact that these rear-ends belonged to girls who were clearly freezing said rear-ends off… well, let’s just say it was pretty funny. I personally just don’t understand the point of trying to look like an uglier version of a Playboy bunny when you’re camping out in podunk England anyway. You’re living knee-deep in mud for three days. Sexy went out the window the second you bought your tent.
So, the art of packing for any festival can be concluded with one final item (besides the obvious camping gear): toilet paper. I won’t go into the specifics of why this item is essential for any festival. Take my word when I say it just is.
Next, we have the art of finding the perfect location and pitching your tent. My group and I were particularly lucky that we arrived as late as we did, because it was easy to find a low-traffic and less crowded area. Festivalgoers are noisy, drunk, and insensitive to the few foolish people who actually think it's possible to be able to sleep. The best solution to this unsolvable problem is to find a space in one of the less-congested camping zones and just hope for the best (I also recommend buying earplugs). As for pitching the tent… well, don’t do it unless you know how to. Again, this would seem like a fairly obvious statement, but as I’ve described, common sense seemed to be nowhere in sight all weekend. As we crawled into our newly pitched tent to avoid the intermittent rain and plan our stage hopping, we watched as three helpless, half-naked girls pitched, un-pitched, and re-pitched their tent over the span of an hour. We debated going to help them, but it was raining pretty hard, and we were busy enjoying the comfort of our tent that our hard work awarded us. Well, I have no problem saying that we successfully demonstrated how people are jerks and won’t help you pitch your tent in the rain… so you’d better know how to.
And finally, we have the art of etiquette, something the Brits are supposedly famous for. If there’s one thing I learned all weekend, it’s that etiquette joined common sense and sexy when they jumped out the window. While the contents of our tents remained safe, we discovered the hard way that Wellie-theft was not uncommon. And staying mud-free? Forget about it. There must be something about the mud and rain that invites people to want to smash their boots in it as much as possible, consequently showering the surrounding people with the thick slop beneath their feet. Which brings me back to my first point: pack well.
So, to you future festivalgoers, I implore you to heed my above advice. The creamy fields of Creamfields and the accompanying rain are not exclusive to Creamfields… they extend themselves to all English music festivals. Novices be warned: the festival gods spare no innocent soul, and while the line-ups of certain festivals are certainly worth it, you can expect to be haunted by the images of mud in all of its glorious and numerous consistencies for the rest of your lives.
|Tiesto @ Creamfields 2011|